Mrs. C.

Self love is a journey. It takes people, especially women, years to overcome. Even when most of us control the all elusive feeling of self love, there is still a small thing here or there that we would change. If we could so easily take moments to truly love ourselves, we would, because when we are confident, we can conquer the world.

Since the age of 15, I remember struggling with my weight. I was born in the 90’s, so as a teenager, I was gifted (joking) with social media. Myspace to be exact. I remember the first time I realized how viscous girls can be about body image, and how self conscious I would become in an instant about how I looked. My father had recently re-done my bedroom, and in my closet he installed shelving. I was beyond excited. I took tons of pictures of all my belongings perfectly laid out. Each shelf was meticulously organized by clothing item; tops, sweaters, pants & in color order. I specifically remember my “jean-shelf” being my favorite, because all the folds were exactly the same and the blues made a beautiful ombre. After posting a picture, I will never forget the first comment; “no ones wants to see your disgusting size 11 jeans”. Immediately my heart sank and began beating out of my chest, because how can I rebuttal this. I, of course, commented how they were only size 9, like the size difference mattered. Even though, in reality they were a size 11. I did not want to delete the comment, from the fear of looking like a baby and being effected by what she said, but I was also SO nervous at how my classmates would react to the size of my jeans. From that day forward, I pelted myself with the constant notion of how “fat” I was.

Fast forward to 11 years later and I’m engaged to be married. I had been with my boyfriend at the time for 5 years, and he had always loved me the way I was. I had gained weight after college, when we met, simply from less exercise and constantly eating out, and even though he always made it a point to show me his love, I was very unhappy. As New Years rolled in, I vowed that not only for the wedding, but my own mental stability, I would work to lose the weight. Slowly but surely the pounds started to come off. I was physically feeling so much better. My stomach did not hurt constantly, as it once had, I was easier able to get around, and I mentally felt refreshed. I was finally doing something I had wanted to for so long.

As I got into the thick of wedding plan, I knew I had to pick the perfect gift for my husband. Something he would never expect. That is when the idea for a Budoir photo shoot came to mind. I did my research and found Lindsay Rae in Troy, which is where I live. It was perfect. I reached out about the date and of course scheduled it as far out as I could, in order to make sure I had lost as much weight possible by then. I worked my ass off and by the time the date of my appointment came around I had lost 52lbs. I felt great. I was more confident than I had ever been in my life.

That morning, I got to the studio with all my outfit options, ready to go. When I arrived, there was champagne waiting for me and a makeup/hair artist ready to doll me up. It made me feel like I was actually a Victoria Secret model. I stretched naked in the bathroom to prepare and after working with Lindsay on all the various shots, what outfits to wear for them, which poses looked best, 2 hours later we were done.

Losing the 52lbs was a great feeling, but leaving her studio was even better. After all those years of struggling with body image and weight loss, I had never felt more confident and happy in myself than in that moment. Of course I was closer to a weight goal then ever before, but the feeling Lindsay imposes on her model, is not a feeling you can simply get from losing weight.

I felt beautiful, sexy, perfect. A few weeks went by before I got to see the photos, and when I met her at her home to view them, I was stunned. As I walked in, her television screen was set up in a slideshow to view all of my photos, set with music & quotes. I kept strong, but I have never wanted to cry harder in my life. She had given me something I searched for, for years. A pride & confidence in me.

Not only were my photos absolutely stunning and my book of beautiful quality, but I look back on that day often and think of how great I felt. I look at my book more than my husband and think how this was genuinely more of a gift to myself.

Lindsay is not only an artist in photography, but she is an artist in self love. She taught me how to find the true beauty in myself, and to understand that everyone can be the strong, confident person they long to be. Up to my wedding I continued to lose another 11lbs and was thrilled, of course. Since then I have maintained a lower weight and worked my butt off at the gym. Even though the scale isn’t quite the same, I have stayed at a consistent number and have really come to love the way I looked. And even though I am months from the wedding, and there are moments I slip in my confidence, I continually think back to the day I met with Lindsay.

Something I have never ever forgotten or had buyers remorse on. I think about how awesome I look in those photos and it truly brings me peace.Self love is a journey.